Image 01

Transneptune

beyond the Kuiper Belt, over the sea

Why

April 14th, 2011 by Kit

So, I need to always revisit why I am doing a thing. In this case, grad school seems unpleasant currently, so I am trying to see what it is that I like about it. And really, it is the teaching. I very much want to do that. I am sure that I want to do research and publish things, too, but right now that desire is distant, obscured.

I got a great compliment from a student the other day—she said that I was the only TA she had this semester who seemed to know the material. I then had a conversation with another student about the ways in which what they’re learning in intro Ling isn’t, per se, true, but is, I hope, a set of useful simplifications.

This is probably just end-of-semester workload blues. Lemme write 20 decent pages more and talk with you again. I reckon I’ll be fine in a few weeks.

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  • DavidC

    Isn’t science generally a set of useful simplifications?

  • Yes! Very much yes. But I mean useful lies. Like electron shells. “This isn’t true, but it’ll make the thing that’s true clearer, and be useful until you learn that thing.”

  • Elizabeth

    I second your final paragraph.
    (the experiment on which I was hoping to base the interesting part of my first generals paper on just failed to turn up basically any interactions, predicted or otherwise. Meh.)

  • Do you feel that what you learned in Intro – back when – was “useful simplifications”? And – wait a minute – does simplifications = lies?

  • See my reply to David C. above—I meant to say useful lies, more than useful simplifications.

    And yes, what I learned in that first intro class? Basically all false.

  • DavidC

    But maybe science consists of all lies, too? Useful lies, that is.

    (though I do think I know what you mean — even if it’s all useful simplifications/lies, some of them aren’t the best ones we know anymore)

  • Well, yes, and yes.